Defective steel toe cap boots claims

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Jonathan Speight

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A guide to making a No Win No Fee defective steel toe cap boots claim

Supplying steel toe cap boots is a health and safety requirement in many industrial environments. But what happens if a person suffers a personal injury at work whilst wearing defective or inadequate foot protection?

In a work situation, responsibility lies firstly with the employer, and secondly in the case of the safety product being defective, the manufacturers.

The person who sustains the injury has a duty to ensure they use and look after the boots correctly and to report any defects. They cannot, however, be held solely accountable, despite any contributory negligence. For this reason, an employee is usually entitled to make a compensation claim.

Steel toe cap boots as PPE

Steel toe cap boots are durable footwear with protective reinforcement in the toe. They are recognised Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Intended for use in settings which pose a risk to safety, such as construction sites, they are designed to prevent or minimise injury to the wearer by shielding the feet from falling objects or compression. They also often combine a midsole plate to protect from penetration below.

However, if defective they do not provide adequate protection.

What are the responsibilities of the employer?

Employers have a duty to protect employees from risk of injury in the workplace. Where health and safety cannot be adequately controlled in other ways, they are required, under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, to provide and pay for suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

The regulations also require that PPE is:

  • Properly assessed before use to ensure it is fit for purpose
  • Stored and maintained correctly
  • Provided with instructions on how to use it properly
  • Used correctly by employees

If an employer fails to meet any of these conditions knowingly supplying their employee with defective steel toe cap boots, or causing them to become defective through lack of maintenance resulting in personal injury, the employee could be liable.

Can the manufacturer be held accountable?

The manufacturer must guarantee a certain level of quality. All steel cap toe boots in the UK must comply with EN ISO 20345 standards. This includes testing their impact and compression resistance.

If they meet the basic health and safety requirements, or are presumed to do so, they must bear a CE marking that is visible, legible and permanent in accordance with the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002.

If it is found that a pair of steel cap toe boots are defective as a result of manufacturer negligence, or a failure to comply with the requirements which was not immediately evident to the purchaser, the responsibility for personal injury lies with them.

Seeking injury compensation

For an employee injured as a result of defective steel toe cap boots, it is worth seeking expert legal advice to better understand the claim process as each case is unique.